Saturday, June 23, 2012

Henryk Górecki: Chronological Collection

When the Zinman/Upshaw recording of Polish composer Henryk Górecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs was released in 1992, it reached No. 6 of the UK album chart; stayed at the top of Billboard classical chart for 38 weeks; and sold over 1 million copies worldwide. Sorrowfully, this success has failed to generate interest in Górecki's other works.

Personally I adore that symphony, and also found many of his other works absorbing: Amen, Beatus Vir, and Totus Tuus are all music of sweeping power and beauty; late works like Kleines Requiem for a Polka and the three String Quartets (No.1, 2, 3) are also fresh and distinctive.

This playlist features all Górecki's recorded works available; sorted in chronological order. From op. 1 (1955) to op. 75 (1999), plus one unnumbered piece Three Dances in Old Style (1963). For Symphony No.3 I used the Zinman recording. The composer's own favorite: Wlodzimierz Kamirski conducting the Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin with soprano Stefania Woytowicz, is hard to find in the west and not on Spotify, though another recording featuring the soprano, and the conductor who premiered the symphony with her, is on Spotify US.

Get this collection in one Spotify playlist here: Henryk Górecki: Chronological Collection (83 tracks from 23 albums, total time: 10 hours) Ctrl (CMD) + G to browse in album view.

In another playlist Pop Songs Based On Classical Works, you can find Lamb's 1997 single Górecki, a minor trip-hop classic which quoted the 2nd movement of the Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.


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